English has several words or phrases to express that something was done with or without the person meaning to do it:

  • purposefully (or on purpose)
  • accidentally (or on accident)
  • intentionally
  • unintentionally
  • meaning to (e.g. "I meant to do it")
  • without meaning to (e.g. "I didn't mean to do it")

In Spanish, I've heard two phrases for this:

  • con/sin querer
  • con/sin gusto

Are there any other phrases with similar meaning in Spanish? What would be the best way to translate the English concepts above to Spanish? What are the differences between the Spanish options (in terms of formality or connotation or how commonly they are used)?

  • Forgot "deliberately."
    – jrdioko
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


I'd translate them as:

  • purposefully = "A propósito" (In my opinion this sound less formal than the next two)
  • accidentally = "Accidentalmente" or "por accidente"
  • intentionally = "Intencionalmente" or "con intención" (or "deliberadamente")
  • unintentionally = "Sin intencion" or "No intencionalmente" (or even "Sin querer")
  • meaning to (e.g. "I meant to do it") = "Tener la intención de..." ("Tengo la intención de hacerlo")
  • without meaning to (e.g. "I didn't mean to do it") = "No tener la intencion de.." or "No querer hacer..."

Also there are:

  • "Querer hacer..." which is kind of "wanting to do..."
  • "Adrede" which is kind of another equivalent to "intentionally" (but it's kind of informal)
  • 1
    I would say "intencionadamente" instead of "intencionalmente". And I would add "pretender" for "to mean to". And I would add "a posta" for intentionally, too.
    – MikMik
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 7:43
  • How about "doloso?"
    – aris
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 18:57

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